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Letter from… London

27 May 2020

By Jamie Williams, Senior Executive 

Yesterday was the third day in a row when COVID-19 deaths were in single figures in London. For the third largest city in Europe, that is a remarkable achievement. To put this into perspective, at the peak of the virus 236 deaths were recorded in one 24-hour period on April 8th. Whilst we must welcome the positive progress made, Londoners cannot jump into our habits with a flick of a switch. 

An ONS study found that people in London have had the lowest awareness of the government’s “stay at home” guidelines. And it shows. Cycling past the parks over the bank holiday weekend, you will see that all common sense had been thrown out the window. Groups gathered in their dozens, celebrating birthdays and enjoying the sunny weather. For those from around the world who are unfamiliar of the Government guidelines, they currently state that you should “not gather in groups of more than two.” 

The picture is even worse when observing social distancing. Londoners have given up. Shops are operating as if everything is normal with consumers bustling past one another at close proximity. Large groups of teenagers are playing contact sport in the parks. What is the most surprising? Well it appears that the police have also thrown in the towel. They are seen patrolling, but not acting. 

It is evident that Londoners have felt the lockdown fatigue more acutely. This is hardly surprising given the lack of both space within apartments and gardens. However, before us Londoners begin to judge the movements of Dominic Cummings, perhaps we should look at ourselves.